Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Contract Act_Practical Problems_51

A tailor, expecting to make good profits at a place on the occasion of a festival there, sent through a railway company, a sewing machine and some cloth for carriage to the place of the festival. Due to the fault of the servants of the railway company, the machine and the cloth could not be delivered till the termination of the festival. Discuss the rights of the tailor.

In the given problem, it is apparent that the delay in delivering the machine and cloth was caused because of the fault of the servants of the Railway. Therefore, there is no doubt that the Railway company shall be subject to damages for the fault of its employees.
But the question is Which kind of damages. Can the tailor claim loss of profit or say only his fare, stay expenses, return fare for the goods, etc.? Loss of profit is a special loss, whereas other loses are ordinary damages. Ordinary damages shall no doubt be claimable. Regarding special damages, i.e., loss of profit, claim shall be acceptable only and only if the facts and the likely loss had been communicated to the Railway company.
This rule regarding special damages was laid down in the case of Hadley v. Baxendale and has been duly incorporated in Section 73 of the Indian Contract Act. Thus, communication of the special circumstances is a pre-requisite to the claim for special damages. Since in the facts given, there is no mention of the peculiar circumstances, i.e., of using the machine and cloth for the festival, having been communicated, the tailor may only claim ordinary damages.

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